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The continent of Africa represented for many centuries a great mystery to the rest of the World. Its vast lands remained uncharted all up to late years of 19th century, when many European countries became invested into colonization of this continent. Beginning of this sudden European invasion process was made possible by the discoveries of many 19th century explorers (most notably David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley), as well by the efforts of much older explorers from Ancient Greece and Rome.
This Portuguese navigator's greatest discovery will be the finding of the land of South America. He made his landing on the coast of the today's Brazil believing that he discovered just another island of the New World.
He traveled several times exploring the eastern coast of Africa paving the way for future Portuguese discoveries. Diogo Cao's discoveries were instrumental in the Vasco De Gama's famous first journey to the India.
Early years of 20th century are today remembered as one of the most exciting times for the explorers. In that short 25-year period, several important scientific journeys left their mark in the polar snows and history of the world. That time-period is today known as "Heroic Age of Polar Exploration".